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US, Taliban ‘likely to sign peace deal’ next week

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Kabul, Aug 10 (IANS) A senior Taliban member said that the US and negotiators of the militant group will likely sign the much-awaited peace agreement after Eid al-Adha, the media reported on Saturday.

In a recorded video published on YouTube, the Taliban member Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah said that the talks will continue after Eid al-Adha which ends on August 13, TOLO News reported.

He said that the peace deal between the US and the Taliban will be signed in the presence of representatives of the UN, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and regional countries, after the return of American Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to Doha after Eid.

Khalilzad travelled to India from Qatar few days back and met the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. He apprised the Indian Minister about the progress made in the Afghan peace process.

From India, Khalilzad went to Norway where he held talks with Norwegian Foreign Minister Marie Eriksen Soreide and discussed the Afghan peace process. Later in a tweet Khalilzad said that Norway was a global leader in facilitating negotiations and could help Afghanistan achieve peace.

The talks with Taliban, according to Khalilzad, had not stopped but were underway at the team level between the two sides.

The US Department of State said that Khalilzad was trying to bring all the stakeholders to the table of negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al-Thani, met US President Donald Trump few days ago, and apart from the bilateral issues, the US-Taliban peace talks were also discussed. 

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